The MGA With An Attitude
I Am NOT A GEARHEAD or a Car Geek

Occasionally people might encourage me to "Check out this barn find full of classic cars", or maybe send me a link to an article about some modern sports car, thinking I must be interested in all things automotive. Chuckle. This is a common misconception. I suppose many people think I'm some kind of gearhead or general car geek, but I'm not. I don't even particularly like cars as a general class. Aside from the MGA, I tend to treat any other vehicle as an appliance (with appropriate disdain or disinterest).

My current daily driver (aside from my MGA) is a 22 year old Mazda RX7 approaching 200,000 miles and rusting out as it sits. It has only done about 1500 miles per year recently. It served as my commuter car for years, and it has been a decent car for TSD rally on various types of road. Otherwise it's sort of boring compared to the MGA. I will be happy to see it go away when I think I can afford another beater car.

The only other car in my garage has been defunct with a bad crankshaft for 8 years now. It is a 1990 Chevy Lumina Eurosport with 3.1 V6 and automatic, just short of 100,000 miles. It was a nice family car while it ran and while I needed it. The Eurosport has bucket seats, floor shifter, uprated suspension and wheels and tires, and a slightly higher final drive ratio. It is not a pig, almost fun to drive, as much as can be said for a big car. I had installed a tow hitch on it, as it has enough weight and power to haul a tow dolly for moving MGs around. If it wasn't so damn difficult to R&R the engine I might have the crankshaft reground, and then ditch the aging RX7. As time passes and the book value is vanishing (already gone), it's more likely to get junked.

I have the MGA because I had one when young (three in one year), liked it a lot, and never lost the yen for it. I was without one for several years after getting married, then killed several more years restoring my current one, but have been using it continuously for the past 23 years. It is essentially a member of the family, always given everything it needs, and to be cherished and cared for until death do us part. (Sound familiar)?

Having said that, I don't view the MGA as being particularly British or even specifically an MG. When I take it to autocross or road rally it is simply an old sports car with not much else going for it. The best part of competition is winning and putting owners of newer cars to shame, as the old bird can still strut its stuff with the best of them. Otherwise it might just as well be a Triumph or a Datsun for all I care, it's just fun to drive. The point is that it is only one vintage car that I play with, and I have not much use or yen for any other car regardless of type or origin. When it comes to collector cars, I'm monogamous. I find one little British car to be quite enough to keep me busy. Like women, it's hard to do justice for more than one at a time.

I do happen to like helping other people to maintain their cars, giving advice and wrenching on them occasionally, but I have to limit the scope of this involvement to a narrow range in order to fit it into available years of my life, so I am an MGA specialist by choice. My web site is useful for helping lots more people than I ever could by wrenching on one car at a time. The local MG club has become a personal social club, perhaps equivalent to a church group with the religion aspect included. "My name is Barney Gaylord, and I am an MGA addict". Like a religion or drug addiction, it is very narrow minded with not much care for other religions or other drugs (or other cars in this case).

The other aspect of my life is that I was a farm kid and grew up around machinery. I am subsequently a career machine design engineer. As such I have a curiosity for all machinery in general. I like the occasional glimpse at steam engines, airplanes, ocean going ships, electric vehicles, rockets and particle accelerators. I enjoy an occasional drive or ride in anything with motive power and human control, simply because I like to marvel at how it all works.

The last time I bought a used car was 1996. Last time I bought a new car was 1987. Last time I bought a classic car (MGA) was 1977. Last time I sold a classic car (MGA) was 1969 (and I traded that one to a dealer on a new car). My lawn mower is a 1965 John Deere 8hp garden tractor purchased used in 1974, and I keep that running too as a matter of simple economics. Bottom line is, when I see a barn full of old cars it looks like a used car lot to me, and not much significance for the contents, especially since I am never in the market to buy or own any of that stuff. My only concern might be if someone was to ask me a question about one of the MGs in the barn, in which case I might take a look to see before I could answer the question. Otherwise, it's just another box full of dusty and disused appliances.

How's that for perspective?

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